Save your Phone for Family

I recently had a mentor session with something who has had her own business for 3 years and never knew how to use her camera for product photography. She was using her phone and getting by that way but really wanted to up her quality.

I understand in a pinch, using your phone. It is always there, it is immediately post-able. But you owe it yourself to have high-quality photos of your products or even your kids.

If you have had a camera for a while and your love to set it on auto, you are missing out. There are a couple awesome principles that once you learn, you will never need auto setting again and you will have more control of your photos!

After struggling and reaching out to me,

this is what she said:

“Well, today I enlisted the expert services of Shirley. She came to my home (thankfully she is local to me) and actually showed me how to work my camera the proper way. How to read the settings and how to NOT use the auto mode. She took the time to take demo photos of my glass (which is a challenge itself) and make sure I understood what each setting meant, and how it affected the photo.

I can proudly say that tonight, for the first time ever, I had consistent results with my pictures. I did not have to take 50 pictures of one item just to get one good on. I took a handful of each and they all looked great. I have never been so happy with my camera, and for the first time, I am not dreading taking pictures of everything again. If you are shooting on auto with your camera, or you just struggle and don’t understand your camera, I highly highly highly recommend taking a mentor session with Shirley. Money well spent!!!!”

I am so excited that she is well on her way to take her own great photos. So this is a great option if shipping your items to me to is just out of the question, I get it!

If we video chat and I can see your space and your camera, then I can as hands on as possible set you up for success!

 

Advertisements

You learn Everything for a Reason

I went to high school for graphic design but we also had to take printing classes. In that printing class, we made notebooks and I remember that being awesome.

But my favorite assignment was making our own font. Being in graphic design, I loved fonts and I knew how important fonts were before those funny font memes came out.

I wished I remember exactly what we did and how we did it but I do not. So I use Fontbundles a lot and jump on their packages or free fonts of the week.

When I first started graphic designing again, specifically for making things for coffee mugs, it made me feel very vulnerable to make it and put it out there. As a photographer, I didn’t have the same vulnerability because whatever I was capturing, I didn’t make.

So I use my fonts and phrases and I try to make them funny or inspirational but at the end of the day, people may not like it. A lot of what I do is then turned into a mock up so I do not waste a mug or the vinyl and there are people who do not like mock-ups at all and need to see that real deal.

I just got an order today for a design that I am so happy with. But when I revealed it in my FB sale group, it didn’t get the reaction I was hoping for. By that I mean it got no reaction at all. Well, I listed it on Etsy anyways and I shared it on IG and someone said they HAD to have it.

theplacesillgo

People say that a lot, but this same person actually bought it today. So I had the satisfaction of MAKING it today. Seeing an idea go from your head to your computer, to real life in front of your face?! This is a personal victory for me.

In high school, I put all my eggs into one boy basket. In college, I had no idea that I would end up hating what I was doing. All my years in retail, were awful. Just awful. Then becoming a wife and a mom, I love taking care of my family but something was still missing, something for me. What made my soul happy? This is it guys.

I love putting funny shit on coffee mugs. As simple as it sounds. I love designing, I love hand applying the vinyl to the mug. I hope there is enough room out there for me because I do not want to stop!

If you would like to see my mug shop you can go here MamabirdMugs

Photos Matter

I cannot tell you how sad it makes me when I see handmade work photographed poorly. Or anything you are trying to sell photographed poorly.

Listen, photographs are what keep people looking, stop them in their tracks, contemplate the item. Can they see it in their home? Is it photographed for an online store or Craigslist?

I am not knocking Craiglist either, it has its purpose. But if you are going to open up a shop, your photographs should be better than Craigslist.

Do you need to buy fancy lights and a $5,000 camera? No. I 100% do not think that is necessary. But you DO need to know what looks good and what doesn’t look good.

These are photographs straight from Anthropologies website. Yes, that is a major company. But just look. Consistent backgrounds, consistent lighting, the feeling you get is these are already in your kitchen and you cannot wait to use them OR maybe that is just me.

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-1-57-36-pm

And these are from a random Etsy shop. So already we see the difference. Yellow tints, dark shadows, plants in the background. I gather that this shop owner is a reseller of vintage items which is awesome but the photographs look like what you might see on craigslist.

And if you do not believe me, these are from Craigslist.

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 2.07.05 PM.png

See what I mean? The difference is one is just for getting rid of and the other is a place of E-commerce. Maybe you are trying to make a living that way. So there should be differences between Etsy photos are Craigslist photos.

I offer product photography services to help you get images like these.

A white background is classic. It makes the photograph all about your item. If you made it or not, if you are trying to sell it, photograph it the best way possible. If you or someone you know could use some help in the department. I offer product photography services here Product Photography Service, also, if you have a set up and a camera but are having trouble make it all work together, I also offer Photography Mentor Video Chat sessions.

Change to Save the Change

Wednesday! The last Wednesday of January 2017. What? Yes, there is only one week left until February. January was a month full of lessons learned for me. I will be very honest here. When I was in my younger day and working full time, I did not know how to budget or how to save money.

Here I am, 28 years old, turns out I still do not know how to budget or save money. I learned this the super hard way by being THIS close (how else do you show that gesture) to not being able to pay for my son’s school tuition next month.

(Thankfully I get to tell my husband that after 2 sales in the Etsy shop, I WILL be able to pay this month!)

Before that, I already told my husband I was short and he assured me not to worry, it would get paid. But I felt so disappointed in myself that I wasn’t paying attention. That I did not keep better track of my balance. I was even closer to over drafting people. I felt the same way I did when I was working full time and living pay check to pay check. Being scared to open utility bills and avoiding phone calls.

But this time it is not just me I am working for.

It is for my son. My son LOVES school. He is really thriving in it. His teachers love him, some moms tell me that their kids talk about my kid all the time at home. He has friends, he loves the activities they do.

It is a Methodist Preschool and my son has come home praying and with little Jesus figures, most beloved is his baby Jesus made out of a sock. He carries it with him around the house.

That said, my husband and I are not too classicly religious. He was raised Catholic and now is an Athiest and I am Buddhist. So I have looked other schools that are more academic based than a religion based.

And in my research it occurred to me if I had trouble saving the tuition for his school now, I would definitely have trouble saving the tuition of other schools because, holy crap, they are expensive.

Odds are, we will keep him in this school. Because he loves his teachers, and he loves his friends. AND I would like him to learn about other religions so that when he is old he can make it own choices.

But still, that doesn’t take away from I need to get my butt in gear about this money karma I have. I need to stay on top of myself.

So if you have any awesome, proven to work money saving tips, please share them in the comments below! 

 

 

 

Not Retreating From What Works For You

Good morning! Happy Wednesday! It is a Happy Wednesday. Even if yesterday’s were not so happy. If you know me on facebook or real life, you know that yesterday was a hard day for me.

Not even the whole day! Most of the day was great! Dinner time. Dinner time ruined my whole day. My son is almost 3 and like any other almost 3 year old, he refuses to eat dinner. Breakfast and lunch? Sure! Dinner? Definitely not going to happen. Unless it is a hot dog and mac n cheese, which is what he will be having tonight.

Ok so last night, as soon as he saw what was for dinner, he decided he did not like it. I started to feel super overwhelmed with anger mostly. I cooked, he should at least try it. We will sit here until you eat it. Ok, no movie after dinner, no toys after dinner, sit hear until bed time.

None of these threats worked. In an effort to not lose my shit, oh yeah, I say shit, hope that is ok. In an effort to not lose my shit, I took to FB live in my favorite mom group. Drank my wine and vented about this whole dinner nonsense. Most the women totally got it and talked about their own dinner related struggles.

One mom, however, pointed out that I am probably making a bigger deal out of if than I should be. I put pressure on myself to make my son eat. Is it a “worry” thing? Sure, but he eats all day, I know he is ok, not going to starve. Is it a control thing? This… this is probably more of what it is.

I have noticed my tendency to get angry. I instantly feel icky about myself when I am aware I feel this way and do not know what to do.

So I did what every parent does once in a while. I googled it. How do I stop being an angry parent? I found an amazing article that broke it down step by step, from the very beginning of feeling that inkling of rage. Rage may seem like an over exaggeration, but I assure you it is not. I remember feeling the same type of rage 7 years ago when I was in the worst time period of my life. I also call her, my dragon lady. Hello dragon lady, I feel you still in there and trying to control me again.

stop%e2%80%a8breathe%e2%80%a8listen

The articles steps were clear: Stop, Breathe, Listen.

Stop when you feel it. Breathe to let it go. And listen to yourself, listen to the things you want to say before you say them. Listen to your kid. Listen to the reality of the situation and is it as
bad as you are about to make it seem.

Doesn’t sound too bad. Sounds like how I learned to control it 7 years ago. How did I stop 7 years ago? Magically right before I met my husband, I had been introduced to Buddhism which was like nothing I had ever been taught before.

Talking with a friend who also practices last night, reminded me that one bad dinner should not have taken away from how great yesterday as a whole was. She was right. I had let it take down my whole day.

I say all this to say that if you find something that works for you, do not stop. Even when it seems you have everything under control. You don’t. And that is ok! If you are like me, you might need that support by something bigger than yourself. I chant. Maybe you pray. Maybe you meditate. Good! I am glad you have those things! Your family is glad you have those things!

What solidified it for me was the other day when my husband said to me “Everyone knows when you are not chanting.”

 

And I know too. I feel it. I feel depressed, I feel angry, I feel impatient. Getting started again is so hard. I feel like Spider-Man fighting the venom stuff that takes over his whole body. But with resources and daily practice, we can fight back!

Here’s to fighting for our happiness!img_4359

 

 

 

Who is Mamabird?

Mamabird is a nickname about 7 years in the making.

I used to work at an F.Y.E., do you remember those? Some cities still have one or two. We sold movies and music. I worked with my now best friend at the time. One day, she called me an early bird. That launched into a hysterical conversation about how cute Bambi is when he says bird the first time.

That launched into a hysterical conversation about how cute Bambi is when he says bird the first time.

I am sorry to customers who had to listen to Bird-DAH a million times that day.

From that day, Bird just stuck. Shirley bird is my personal Instagram and when it came time to pick a name for my new freelance photo company, Mama Bird just seemed like the next step.

Now with an Etsy shop selling mugs, surprise surprise,

Mamabird Mugs was born.

What started as a work name, nickname, and now a new work name. So I am Mamabird.

A music and movies loving mom of an almost 3-year-old, loves to drive and sing loudly (badly) in the car, married for 3 years, has lived in like 5 states Shirley.

I am both mug and font obsessed and with my handy dandy Cricut, I am able to produce fun fonts to upcycle thrift mugs. If you would like to check them out, go here Mamabird Mugs Etsy Shop

Now you know me! Who are you? Got any fun facts?

 

 

Out with old, In with the New

Hello Hello Hello!

How are you? Happy New Year! I can still say that right? It is still January after all.

Thank you for reading and thank you for being here. I started this blog around the time I was starting to find myself again after being a stay at home mom for so long.

I was dipping my feet back into photography and doing product photography for shops.

But something was still missing for me, for my creativity. I was given the amazing opportunity to try something totally new and different and fell in love with it.

I started upcycling mugs and bowls with funny phrases and affirmations and some seriously inappropriate things as well, because we cannot take life too seriously, right?

I opened an Etsy shop in August 2016 and have been having so much fun meeting people and making custom items. Seeing people love my mugs and designs has been the exact boost I needed in life. It has made me feel truly fulfilled to be contributing financially to my family by paying for my sons’ school tuition! Me, a homemaker with a passion for fonts, paying for my sons’ school!

It has been quite a ride and I have learned a lot but only an inkling of everything there is to learn!

I hope 2017 has been great for you so far!